Announcing the Winter Wonderland QuickMark Contest Winner!

Happy Holidays!

A big thanks to the Turnitin community for submitting hundreds of creative and winter-related QuickMarks. It was a tough choice to choose the top 10 given the creativity and instructional depth of many of the QuickMarks.

Also following each winning QuickMark is what the individual had to say about why this QuickMark should win and the projects they chose to donate to via



Top 10 Creative QuickMarks

[Quote Dump] by Jill Doise (Teacher at St. Thomas More Catholic High School)

  • Description: A common mistake writers make is what I call the "quote dump." In other words, sticking a quote into a paragraph without any type of transition and/or letting it function as a stand-alone sentence in the writer's paper.
  • Why this QuickMark? I see students so frequently inserting quotes into a paper because they need textual evidence. However, they don't connect the textual evidence to their own ideas. This QuickMark has saved me from having to write this comment on many occasion.

[2LaDiDah] by Julie Fagan (Teacher at Rutgers University)
  • Description: To indicate that the text is too superficial - needs facts with legitimate references.
  • Why this QuickMark? Although writing "off the cuff" helps get one's thoughts on paper, converting the text with citable facts is needed for a persuasive paper meant for the reader (and writer) to completely understand the content of the paper.[DRD]

[Drive-by-Quoting] by Magi Smith (Teacher at Indiana Wesleyan)
  • Description: This is called a "drive-by quote" because it appears to be randomly dropped into the paper without introduction, contextualization, or analysis.
  • Why this QuickMark? This is a commonly made error in student writers. The title of this QuickMark gets their attention and stays with them.

[25¢] by Kyle Reynolds (Teacher at Brewster Academy)
  • Description: Using a 25¢ word for a 10¢ job is a waste of 15¢.
  • Why this QuickMark? When a student is using a word that is "too much" or too obscure for the context, or is an attempt to impress through vocabulary instead of clear communication, I use this comment. It's sarcastic, but students usually see it as lighthearted, not offensive.

[Strategery] by Alyssa Cady (Graduate Student at University of Minnesota)
  • Description: Are you sure you're using that word correctly? Are you sure that word's a word?
  • Why this QuickMark? Have you ever graded a paper and saw a word that didn't belong? In grading a lot of Humanities papers, I see a lot of words that are misused or even made up.

[*\^-^/**\^-^/**\^-^/*] by Catherine Mott (Student at Collin College)
  • Description: Three cheers for solid work.
  • Why this QuickMark? You should choose this QuickMark because it is encouraging to the students of the modern age, making use of emoticons to exhibit satisfaction.

[Frame the Claim] by Katie Hughes (Teacher at San Diego State University)
  • Description: Whose claim is this? Your reader must assume it is your claim, as it is not attributed to a source. You need to frame it with attribution to its source.
  • Why this QuickMark? I use this QuickMark frequently for undergraduate essays where students unintentionally plagiarize ideas by failing to adequately attribute them to the author whose claims they are analyzing. The wording on the QuickMark is clever and captures the essence of the error; the drop-down description clarifies the error in more detail. This is important, as it identifies plagiarism that the Originality tool does not, because it isn't focused on quoted material.

[Claim, Evidence, Warrant] by Rachel Pezold (Teacher at Washington High School)
  • Description: Use the Claim, Evidence, Warrant QuickMarks (or as I like to call them: CEW QuickMarks) to guide students formal research writing. It's easy for students to know whether they've correctly developed a claim, incorporated evidence well, and explained the connection between the two in their warrant.
  • Why this QuickMark? Teachers need more time. The CEW QuickMarks do just that. No more repeating yourself over and over while grading. Just drag and pull to offer quick and immediate feedback.

[Information Dump] by Michelle Jarvis (Teacher at Davidson County Community College)
  • Description: When you string source information together without adequate explanation in your own words between quotes/paraphrases/summaries, you have an "information dump." This rapid fire string of source material decreases reader interest and detracts from what you have to say. Instead of just supplying the reader with what others have said, you need to offer explanations of how the source information supports your own ideas.
  • Why this QuickMark? This is a common problem for students when they are required to write research papers. Students will benefit from the information as well as instructors, who can easily mark the problem areas with a Quick Mark instead of having to comment each time a student uses a string of research information. The catchy title also piques students' interest in reading the comment.

Top 10 Winter-Related QuickMarks

[Grammar got ran over by a reindeer] by Shannen Miralles (Student)

  • Description: Your grammar is not quite correct.
  • Why this QuickMark? I chose this QuickMark because it creates a small laugh of cheesiness but also a fun way to say that you did something wrong! It also gets into festive spirit.

[Run, run-on Rudolph!] by Melissa Scott (Teacher at Hudson High School)
  • Description: Whoa Rudolph! You must observe the yield and stop signs so Santa can make it to town safely!
  • Why this QuickMark? It's a seasonal way to highlight the error of run-on sentences, which are all too common in student writing.

[Fa,la,la,la,la,la,la,la,la] by Jill Hare (Teacher at Silver High School)
  • Description: Redundancy of words, phrases, or ideas.
  • Why this QuickMark? This QuickMark alerts the student to repetitive, excessive, or superfluous wording, often known as "padding" when writing a paper meeting a required length.

[Snow Boots] by Megan Maynard (Teacher at Harding High School)
  • Description:
\ __|_
__)\ |
(____) |
I thought you might need a pair of boots for all of the fluff you're shoveling here. Where's the concrete proof? How could you restate this to include evidence?
  • Why this QuickMark? For papers asking students to make an assertion about a text and support it with evidence from the text, students forget the evidence element and try to "BS" their way through a response. I use this when I'm pointing out their rushed, fluff response. They know this means they need to try again.

[Frostbite] by Jorge Castro (student at Louis D. Brandeis High School)
  • Description: Writer freezes and suddenly stops in the middle of a description, leaving the reader stuck with not enough detail.
  • Why this QuickMark? A method to providing the writer to provide more explicit detail to a certain part of their essay.

by Katie Millett (Student at Centennial High School)
  • Description: That is not how you use a clause. Santa is offended.
  • Why this QuickMark? Get it? 'Clause'? Santa 'Clause'? It's funny, I promise.

[Deck the Halls!] by Lauren Pfister (Teacher at Beech Grove High School)
  • Description: This section needs some pizzazz. Can you swap out some verbs? Add some catchy adjectives? Deck out this section with some thoughtful and creative vocabulary.
  • Why this QuickMark? This winter-themed QuickMark is cute but practical when assessing word choice. I'm always encouraging my students to show off their vocabulary, so they would know just what I meant with this comment.

[Ugly Christmas Sweater] by Rebecca Damron-Whitehead (Counselor at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School)
  • Description: Too many opinions without supporting facts. Opinions in a formal paper are like ugly Christmas sweaters... Keep it to a minimum.
  • Why this QuickMark? I have been guilty of including opinions in my writing too often, so I liked the idea of having a clever, creative QuickMark about it.

['Twas the night before] by Cristopher Hendrickson (Teacher at CUSD 200)
  • Description: Need to proofread and correct careless errors. This seems to have been rushed, maybe finished late the night before it was due.
  • Why this QuickMark? it makes me chuckle

[Slow Down, Santa Claus!] by Michelle Schloss (Teacher at Cushing Academy)
  • Description: This sentence is as chaotic as Santa's workshop! Simplify your clauses, create a separate sentence, or consider your use of effective punctuation.
  • Why this QuickMark? As the holidays approach and students rush through their final essays, their run-on sentences demonstrate how speedily they'd like to wrap up work and rush into Winter Break. This QuickMark reminds them to consider their reader, slow down, and make their sentences as clear and deliberate as possible.

A big thank you to everyone who shared their best seasonal or creative QuickMarks! We'll continue to showcase the many deserving QuickMarks who didn't make it to the top 10 through Facebook, social media, and future blog posts. Have a happy and safe holiday!

Warm regards,

The Turnitin Team